Friday, 8 May 2015

Mmegi - Yet more scams

Scammers certainly aren’t going anywhere.
A few weeks ago a woman contacted me on Facebook and told me that a man had approached her on Facebook and a relationship had developed between them. She said:
“I have been communicating with someone named Luca Anders and he became my Facebook boyfriend. He said he is working in the UK and his contract is ending this month end. He took all his benefits from the company and he wants to come and settle with me in Botswana. He called me that he is coming with a flight which landed at Cape Town at 0930 this morning. Those that claim that they are at the airport called me asking if he is coming to me and I confirmed. Now they say he is carrying a lot of cash.

They say he should pay R10,000 for money laundering and now he says I should deposit the money and he’ll pay me back when he comes because they are now going to send him back and without that cash. Please check for me if its the truth. He says I should not tell many people coz he is carrying lots of money and he is fearing for his life. I’m in a fix. To deposit or not to or is this a scam?”
Of course this is a scam but it’s a clever one. The story about the guy arriving at Cape Town that very morning added a sense of urgency to the pressure she was under. The thought that her lover was in custody and might be kicked out of South Africa must have made her feel desperate.

Of course all they wanted was the R10,000. If she’d paid them the money you can be certain they would have asked for more and more money until either she finally realized it was a scam or she just ran out of money.

Another reader emailed us and asked:
“I write requesting for your help. I met this guy on the net and last week he said he bought me some things he couried them like yesterday and I received an email from Excel Express Couriers giving me my tracking code they asking me to pay R2800 for clearance at South Africa not sure if I should make some payments...”
Same scam, different approach. There is a genuine courier company in the UK called Excel Couriers whose web site these scammers have copied, even including an online tracking database so that every victim can see that their package is apparently held up in customs somewhere. This particular woman gave me the tracking number they sent her and I checked it on the fake web site. It said:
“Parcel Presently In Amsterdam Heading To New Location. NOTE: Receiver Must Pay R2,785 As Custom Clearance Fees Before Delivery Will Be Made.”
All the same clues were there. The address this company gives is actually the address of a DHL depot in London, they only give a UK cellphone number, not a landline number and the address of the guy claiming to send her these goodies was a fake.

Then there was perhaps the most disturbing scam I’ve heard of in a long time.

The victim said:
“I am expecting goods from Florida,USA but today i received a call from the number +27 71 998 4950 and talked to a certain gentleman who introduced himself to me as James, an agent at the Johannesburg Customs office. The said James told me that my parcels arrived yesterday from Florida and are in Johannesburg Airport and asked me to pay the sum of R3220.00 as customs clearance charge for goods such as laptops so that they make sure the goods reach me by tomorrow. I asked him how i can make the payment but advised me to pay through Western Union and the payment should be forwarded to James Irvin Phiri, Address 25 Habicus Street Strand Cape Town 7140. Email: daniellink@post. Fax +27866006180. as per the message he sent to me. Now my question is, Johannesburg is not the final destinations for my parcel, they are just passing through why do i have to pay South African Customs office for clearance? is it the procedure or someone is trying to steal my money, if its the procedure why do i have to pay through western union?”
She’s asking some very sensible questions. Why would a customs official want payment using Western Union? Why would you pay to someone in Cape Town when they claim they’re in Johannesburg? Why would anyone in South Africa want payment for an item that isn’t going there and that is just passing through?

Of course the phone numbers and addresses are fake, as is the entire story.

Also I think it’s safe to assume that the guy claiming to send the package is part of the scam, don’t you?

Here’s the disturbing bit. She’s met him. In the flesh.

She told me:
“the person sending me the parcel is my boyfriend, he has being in South Africa but went back home some few weeks back for his family matters, i asked him to buy me something there and he definitely did and sent the parcel to me and now somebody wants to play tricks with me”
There are two possibilities. Either her boyfriend is genuine and his package has somehow been intercepted by scammers or he’s right at the centre of the scam. If it’s the latter then we have a scammer who has crossed the boundary and has formed a genuine, perhaps even physical relationship with his victim.

Is there nothing these scumbags won’t do to steal people’s money?

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